Poaching violations added: Sequim man faces 26 counts now

Jason Hutt appears by video link during his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Jason Hutt appears by video link during his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man who was charged with 16 illegal hunting violations last month in Clallam County and two counts in Jefferson County is facing eight new counts in Clallam County Superior Court.

Jason Bradley Hutt, 29, will be arraigned Thursday on two counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, three counts of second-degree hunting of wild animals or wild birds, two counts of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm and one count of unlawful carrying of a firearm.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife alleged that Hutt and an accomplice — Wyatt James Beck — illegally killed several bears, deer and elk in Clallam and Jefferson counties in 2018.

The new charges against Hutt stem from the Aug. 30 discovery of an illegally-hunted or illegally-possessed river otter pelt, bobcat pelt and harlequin duck carcass that were found at Hutt’s residence, Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Kit Rosenberger said Friday.

“We saw evidence of more big game violations,” Rosenberger said.

In the original case filed Aug. 27, Hutt pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, two counts of first-degree unlawful transportation of wildlife and single counts of waste of wildlife and unlawful hunting on the property of another.

Those 16 charges will be adjudicated in a trial scheduled for Dec. 9.

Fish and wildlife officials alleged that Hutt and Beck illegally killed three bears and three deer in Clallam County between June 1 and Sept. 4, 2018.

Hutt and Beck were each charged in Jefferson County Superior Court for the alleged illegal hunts of two bull elk that were found in the Brinnon area last year.

“It’s been a very time-consuming investigation for us,” Rosenberger said when reached by cell phone Friday.

“It’s definitely one of the bigger big game cases we’ve had in years’ past.”

A trial date on Hutt’s eight new charges, which were filed as a separate case, will be set at his arraignment Thursday.

Hutt also is charged with possession of methamphetamine in a third case and first-degree theft of an excavator and possession of stolen property in a fourth case in Clallam County Superior Court.

Hutt posted a $10,000 bail bond Sept. 6. His conditions of release include a curfew and a no-hunting restriction, court papers said.

According to the affidavit for probable cause, Fish and Wildlife officers obtained a search warrant and found more than 40 sets of antlers and parts of black bear, cougar, bobcat and coyote at Hutt’s residence.

“Further, during the search we found a bobcat hide hung over an elk skull in the living room and an otter pelt on a workbench and a whole, frozen harlequin sea duck within a freezer in the shed immediately adjacent to the residence,” Fish and Wildlife Officer Bryan Davidson wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.

It is illegal to possess a bobcat pelt or otter pelt without a Fish and Wildlife-approved identification seal, Davidson said.

The bobcat pelt and otter pelt found at Hutt’s residence had no seal, Davidson said.

“From my observations during the search warrant at Hutt’s residence it was clear to me that Hutt was a collector of elk and deer heads as trophies,” Davidson said the affidavit.

Hutt was convicted in 2016 of hunting and killing black-tail deer without tags or licenses, giving rise to his first-degree hunting of big game charges.

“There’s been significant damage to wildlife on the North Olympic Peninsula,” Rosenberger said of the recent investigation.

“We want to make sure we’re protecting the wildlife of the Olympic Peninsula.”

Beck, also of Sequim, was charged Aug. 26 in Clallam County Superior Court with seven counts of first-degree unlawful hunting of big game, two counts of first-degree unlawful transportation of wildlife and single counts of waste of wildlife and unlawful hunting on the property of another.

Beck pleaded not guilty Sept. 27 and has a trial scheduled for Dec. 9.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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